Band: MALAMORTE
Country: Italy
Title: Devilish Illusions
Label: Murdher Records
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
Italian blackmetallers released first full-length album. This stuff is very raw, I hear there not only black metal but some elements of underground punk rock and coldwave from 80th which I know from underground Polish bands of the time. I do not suppose, however, that the musicians hiding under pseudonyms SK (just for sessions) and Lord Vampyr (btw. Malamorte is a side project of him) know punk/coldwave stage from my country so I think the severity and specific melody sounds of Malamorte has different sources, he, he... I’m not a big fan of typical blackmetal but I listened „Devilish Illusions” with great satisfaction and a pleasant surprise. This is a powerfully/raw but melodic black metal closer to old Darkthrone or the beginnings of Impaled Nazarene than e.g. Burzum or other nihilistic sounds. A staple of all here are three parts entitled "Maleficium": the first is at the same time dark ambient intro, 2nd is a short solo played on school cymbals and 3rd is a strange sounds compilation stylized on old black and white fantasy movie soundtrack. 7th track called „Malamorte” is started as dark-ambient-coldwave song stylized on Joy Division and ended as typical raw black metal piece. In summary - Malamute is at any rate an unconventional idea to revitalize blackmetal and L.V. has my respect for this album.
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 9/10

Band: MALEFIC MIST
Country: Italy
Title: Il richiamo dell'inverno
Label: Adimere Records
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
This is my first encounter with Milan based Malefic Mist, so I'm not sure if Mors Taetra, the man behind this moniker, made a voluntary decision to move forward instrumentally, without any vocals, or if it was a forced decision by the lack of a proper vocalist, but I have to admit it's not everyday I stumble upon such a project/band, especially if they follow a genre like Black Metal which traditionally wouldn't be complete without vocals. Anyway, Il richiamo dell'inverno (The Calling of Winter) is the sixth demo of this project since its foundation in 2004, and features 2 very long tracks clocking a stunning 50 minutes of playing time. We're dealing here with proper Black Metal, melancholic and depressive to the bone, but still Black Metal, highlighted by freezing-cold guitar tremolo riffs, enchanting / hypnotizing leads and melodic bass lines, organic sounding drums (although quite raw and not with the best of mixes...), but what I like the most about it is how well the cover artwork is in sync with the music, or better said how well the music "describes" what's on the cover, the only thing missing in this "painting" would be a wolf howling, but oh well, you can't have them all. So to sum it up this new demo is a melancholic and cold at the same time, an incursion into the snowy mountain forests but from the cozy warmth of your lounge. Don't expect something overly professional or polished, this is done in the man's house and it sounds like it, but is way more expressive them many such demos.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
kaziklu@hotmail.com
adrshop.bandcamp.com

Band: MARTYRIUM
Country: Malta
Title: Destiny Wore a Bondage Mask
Label: Art Gates Records
Year: 2016
Style: Melodic Black Metal

Review:
With only 2 original members (from the 6 current) Martyrium continues its saga switching labels for the first time from Mexico based American Line to Spanish Art Gates; I guess this is a totally new beginning for the band and a step up even though American Line has many years of experience underbelt. Anyway, the fourth full-length album continues the same path, a melodic, symphonic, theatrical Extreme Metal (mix of Black and Death Metal, of course, with multiple other influences), the band are known for. Lead by a very versatile female vocalist Vanja Obscure, who's spitting her soul out throughout the whole album, Martyrium are also offering a very complex, technical and melodic guitar work, and the drums, although the band works with drum-machine and it sounds totally synthetic, are well programmed to enhance that progressive, intricate feeling, and on top of that the keys & synths are also a very important element in this band's music, adding a mysterious, symphonic and even goth touch. Some of the tracks are a bit too complicated and the rhythms are way too broken preventing the compositions to flow steadily, but overall I get that they wanted to add as much stuff in every track as possible, and to tell you the truth to me it sounds quite original. This "push" to add as much stuff as possible brings them to complete Goth territories at times, and the listener starts to wonder if this is the genre they are aiming for in the future (at least that's what I did). I would have liked Pandemonia, the soprano singer, to have a bigger role in the compositions, and the production to be less chaotic, but even so my overall impression is good, the album is interesting, part of it made me curious, part of it was really catchy, and part left me a bit puzzled, but it sounds like the fruit of a hard work in the end. If you think you'd enjoy a Symphonic and Gothic sounding Extreme Metal with very synthetic drums this album would be a good choice.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
martyrium.co
artgatesrecords.com

Band: MOLOCH LETALIS
Country: Poland
Title: Zgliszcza
Label: Old Temple
Year: 2015
Style: Black Death Metal

Review:
There's nothing better than celebrating 10 years of activity through the release of a full-length album, even if, as in Moloch Letalis' case, it is the debut album, and even if this might indicate that the band is quite a lazy bunch, I've always seen their name here and there lately and to me they seemed hard-working and eager to spread their disease called music. Fast paced, organic sounding, traditional, and abrasive as hell mix of Black and Death Metal with no particular emphasis on any of these two genres, a smooth, natural sounding blend. Their music reminds me of my Czech fave group, Avenger, although Moloch Letalis are not as catchy and use more traditional patterns from both Black Metal and Death Metal than trying to create their own identity, they seem to be fine with just being old-school and sounding good without being innovative. Anyway, the guitar work is very good here, and I'd say it constitutes the highlight of this band's music, the bass lines are also above average when it comes to how influencial they are on the final outcome, the drums are good but nothing special, and the vocals comprehensive, raspy and hateful, but not my fave style though. All in all I can appreciate the release as being a honest, uncompromising and tributary to the old-school way, but again, nothing special to make me thirsty for more, sorry. Amazing cover artwork though...
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/molochletalis
oldtemple.com

Band: NORTHWINDS
Country: France
Title: Eternal Winter
Label: Black Widow
Year: 2015
Style: Doom Rock Metal

Review:
With almost 30 (!!!) years of experience under their belt, Northwinds managed to released their fifth full-length album, also the fifth on Black Widow with whom they seem to get along perfectly. 8 tracks, 50 minutes of playing time, the album opens with two tracks that seem to be the continuation of Black Sabbath with Ozzy, but soon after add more influences and the abnd's music becomes a mix of Doom Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Hard Rock and even Folk if we count the Jethro Tull-like flute as Folk, it's all back to '70's, with the powerful sound of Today and a crystal-clear yet organic production. The tracks are mostly long, but luckily they are not boring at all, on the contrary, this joint between Doom and Hard Rock sounds really entertaining, and the band comes up with some catchy hooks on almost all the tracks. A very good album proving that the band is technically capable of performing good quality music, while also keeping their passion for experimenting intact.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
facebook.com/northwindsdoom
blackwidow.it

Band: OCCULTUM
Country: Poland
Title: Towards Eternal Chaos
Label: Old Temple
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
Previously known as Amarok (2003-2015), this duo (?) basically reinvents itself and gets straight to attack with this debut full-length album that's meant to devastate everything in its path, and from my point of view it fully succeeds. Starting with the excellent band logo, continuing with the terrifying band image, and ending with a top notch music, I have to say I like everything about this new Occultum. This album features 7 tracks and clocks 40 minutes of fast paced, highly technical, melodious at times, truly vicious all the time Black Metal that reminds me of the (nowadays vintage) Swedish scene of the end '90's - beginning '00's, plus a few artifices from the current Polish scene. Apart from the fine composed and delivered guitar work and the tremendous drumming, the vocals are all over the place, the amount of effort this guy puts into it is amazing and deserves respect. Everything on this debut album makes me already place it between my fave releases of 2016, a fantastic work to push the band towards the elite, a release that made me discover it more and more with each audition and I'm still not bored one bit, on the contrary, I'm becoming extatic of how good it is. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/Occultum-1503781133262749
oldtemple.com

Band: PATH OF DAMNATION
Country: USA
Title: Live Rehearsal Demo MMXV
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2015
Style: Selfreleased

Review:
I'm a nostalgic, I know, but I think it's great to still see bands releasing demo tapes and spreading them to zines and labels for feedback, this is probably the most genuine and organic way to get impressions on your work and improve what you did so far. It seems the 4 tracks featured here will be featured on the band's upcoming album, too, so this tape acts like a preview, too. Unfortunately the sound quality is pretty bad, it's clear they recorded in improper conditions, but hey, it's a rehearsal demo, I wouldn't expect more. The music is pretty good, with occasional catchy elements, fast paced most of the times and quite technical, too, the only area where it failed to convince me were the vocals, which, wlthough quite versatile, are recorded like with fear of being heard by the neighbors, cuffing the mic and trying to sound evil. The guitars on the other hand are great, and the addition of long, chaotic (and not only) solos is a plus in my books for sure, many bands overlook this element nowadays. For a demo it shows potential, but of course the band needs more quality in both recording and execution in order to convince. Let's wait and see. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/pathofdamnation

Band: REVERIES END
Country: Finland
Title: Edge of Dark Waters
Label: Slptrick Records
Year: 2016
Style: Progressive Gothic Doom Metal

Review:
The band was founded in 2011 and a year later they already released 2 demos, but since then silence... Until this year when they managed to sign with Sliptrick and release their debut full-length album, and what an impressive album it is, oh boy, oh boy. To me their music sounds like a combination of The Gathering (especially the period with Anneke but not only) and Evanescence (for real), plus some more, from Progressive to Post Metal even to Black Metal at times although vaguely, through part of the vocals. The absolutely fantastic vocals of Sariina Tani (warm, enchanting, fairy-like) are doubled at times by background Black Metal-like screams still sung by her, and supported by a catchy, simple and effective at times and complex, thorough and progressive at other, instrumental section that impresses through its cohesion, it really feels like the band members are getting along pretty well when it comes to composing stuff, and starting with the melodic guitar work, with a strong and influential bass line and ending with an intricate drumming, everything sounds like it fits perfectly. After about 4-5 auditions I'm still not bored a bit and I'm sure I'll still spin this album for a few more times in the future, but I don't have a fave track yet, and maybe that's what the material lacks more, a couple of hits, of tracks to stand out, as this band is mainstream material for sure. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
reveriesend.net
sliptrickrecords.com

Band: SARISSA
Country: Greece
Title: Nemesis
Label: Rock of Angels Records
Year: 2016
Style: Power Metal

Review:
Greek’s Sarissa strikes back again! Legendary power/heavy/thrash metal band from Greece was dissolved some times during their history but the last  re-born in 2012 resulted in the release of new album called „Nemesis”. Previous album „Masters of Sins” was released 12 years ago but the new album doesn’t differ stylistically from it. This is still good, oldschool-„metal time capsule” inlaid novelties. On the one hand „Nemesis” is typical power/heavy/thrash metal album reminiscent of the 80s, frot the other hand Sarissa is band from Greece and their metal contains a lot of the Greek soul. Apart from the usual, sometimes naive texts straight from the 80s this stuff included some motifs from powerful Greek mythology and next to the typical, simple but polished riffs „Nemesis” included a lot of greek’s folk sounds. There were also metal ballad in the style of Ozzy. Sarissa is a Greek legend, no one they cann’t speak them as they hsve to play. And Sarissa still play really good stuff!
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 8/10

Band: SILENT IMAGES
Country: Sweden
Title: Knightfall
Label: Art Gates Records
Year: 2016
Style: Progressive Death Thrash Metalcore

Review:
Founded in 2011, Silent Images managed to release their debut EP in 2014 and here we are 2 years later witnessing the release of their debut full-length album, too, everything pretty standard and without surprises I'd say, but that can't be said about the band's music and they try to deliver their compositions as intricate, as boundaries-pushing and even as weird as possible. 11 tracks, 55 minutes of playing time, a tasteful mix of Thrash, Death and even Metalcore, with plenty of melodies, loads of blastbeats, breakdowns, too, and all these lead by a heavily versatile vocalist that doesn't have the best tone in the world, but he tries to reach all corners of his abilities and definitely succeeds in giving his best (the listener will get that and appreciate it, I'm sure); the guitar work is split between technical riffs, melodic leads, long solos and most of the time sounds as daring as the vocals; the bass lines are subtle but very supportive and self-building; the drumming is among the best things on this album, complex, yet delivered with feelings. All in all this band offers us a heavily progressive album proving they are capable of reaching high ranks in this scene, in my opinion they should only work more on finding and implementing more hooks in their music to make it memorable, not just impressive.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
facebook.com/SilentImages
artgatesrecords.com

Band: TERRORFRONT
Country: Italy
Title: We Don't Come in Peace
Label: Lupus Niger
Year: 2015
Style: Thrash Black Metal

Review:
Debut EP by this quartet hailing from the beautiful and brutal Napoli, a recording made of 3 of their own tracks, a Bestial Mockery cover, and an intro that's pretty much the only thing connected with the war-like cover picture. The music is quite primitive, live recorded, very raw in quality but better sounding than your usual rehearsal demo, and frankly doesn't impress much. By the cover artwork and tracks titles I was expecting some War Metal, but actually this is a mix of aggressive and old-school Thrash, Black and maybe even some Death Metal, played at high intensity, but without any special moments to keep for yourself after the audition. I liked the ferocious vocals, both the main vocals and the supporting screams, and the energy and hate the band managed to deliver on this debut EP, hope their next release will have more hooks, more things to enjoy. This EP was released as slim case pro-CDR and comes with a 4 pages booklet featuring all lyrics.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6/10

Contact:
facebook.com/terrorfront666
lupusnigerprodanddistro.bigcartel.com

Band: THE EVERSCATHED
Country: USA
Title: The Devil's Cross
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2008
Style: Death Metal

Review:
Founded in 2003 from the ashes of local Death Metal act Enmortem which didn't manage to get out too much with their demos and 1 EP, The Everscathed are a pretty active band on discographic level, but this material I'm currently writing about is a 2008 EP which probably is still available for ordering directly from the band. Made of 2 originals, 2 covers (Samael's Baphomet's Throne and Cancer's Hung, Drawn and Quartered), plus a track left from the defunct Enmortem, The Devil's Cross clocks 21 minutes of playing time and is pretty entertaining but still sounding unpolished and unpretentious. The organic, almost live-rehearsal-sounding yet keeping things impressively crystal-clear, might work as a charm for many or as an impediment for others, I personally recognize this US style of recording (heard it to lots of bands from over there) and have nothing against it, especially since everything sounds so clear and you can follow each and every instrument while still enjoying the overall experience; the organic drumming is also a plus, even more since the drummer is excellent; the bass lines are intense and very influential on the final outcome; the vocals could have been a bit more versatile, but the guys sounds passionate and has a sick tone, perfect for thsi type of music. Two tracks didn't made up a complete impression on the new The Everscathed, but as a whole this EP is well worth your time; a good slab of mid-tempo to fast paced US style Death Metal, ugly and direct to the bone.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
theeverscathed.bandcamp.com

Band: THE EVERSCATHED
Country: USA
Title: Scars to Bare
Label: In Death Records
Year: 2015
Style: Death Metal

Review:
Here we are, 7 years after the release of the EP I just reviewed and The Everscathed are still alive and kicking, although with only one member still on the barricades, W. Frickenstein, the band's leader, supported by John Contreras on drums and Allen Mate on guitars. This is the band's third full-length, an 8 tracks effort totaling 40 minutes of Death Metal a bit more Thrash-influenced than what I heard earlier, and honestly I don't think I like this new version of the band more. Definitely the synthetic drums' sound on this album is a major minus for me, it acts like an aggression reducer, and I'm sure that wasn't the intention of the band. The bass lines are as intense and influential as before, and the vocals continue on the same demented line proving they are fit for this music, but all in all this album didn't convinced me as much as the EP did. The good thing about it is that it donesn't stick to a particular path, the compositions are pretty different one from the other but in the end you still get the impression the band sounds curdled and works towards a well-defined outcome.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6.5/10

Contact:
theeverscathed.bandcamp.com

Band: THROES
Country: Australia
Title: This Viper Womb
Label: Aesthetic Death
Year: 2016
Style: Dissident Metal

Review:
Hailing from the small Australian island Tasmania, Throes started in 2003 as project of Trent Griggs who immediately started working on its debut EP who was released in limited number of only 50 copies in 2005 and distributed to labels but nothing noteworthy happened after that since 2011 when Trent approached drummer Kevin Talley (Daath, Suffocation, Feared, Sylencer and Nothnegal) to record for Throes' debut album, then in 2012 he welcomed James Ludbrooke (ex. Damaged/Terrorust) as the second member of the band, on vocals, and by Autumn of 2014 the debut album, this one I'm talking about here, was completed. Another almost 2 years and here's this piece of art finally being released through cult underground label Aesthetic Death, in the end of June 2016. I feel like this is a tremendouns gathering of really expressive artists, for some reason, after listening to this work, Trent and James seem to be similar and their working together seems very natural, plus releasing it on Aestetic Death, a label that praises nonconformism and originality, gives it the perfect medium. 10 tracks, 66 minutes of playing time, an astonishing work, a mix of all things Metal and non-Metal, basically it's an extremely complex and at the same time repetitive and mesmerizing instrumental work with two abrasive and desperate screaming vocals recorded like in antithesis. This sounds like nothing I've heard before, it's some sort of mix between traditional and progressive, between Post-Metal and '90's Metal (from the Peaceville , between disturbing, hateful music and calm, almost serene structures, I wouldn't dare labelling it anyway, so Dissident Metal seems like the perfect definition for it. I'm very impressed by three elements on this album: the absolutely delicious bass lines, the complex drumming, and the overall weird yet somehow warm and welcoming atmosphere. An absolute must for all of you in search for originality, a perfect 10! 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 10/10

Contact:
throesofficial.com
aestheticdeath.com

Band: WOLFHOWL
Country: Greece
Title: The Purity of Mother Nature
Label: War Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
One man band hailing from one of the beautiful Greek islands, Kefalonia, started in 2009 by Faethon, Wolfhowl offers us its second EP to date, a 4 tracks effort clocking 21 minutes. Gathering influences from the Norwegian Black Metal scene, the Greek Black Metal scene and even Pagan Metal, and keeping things quite simple and objective, Wolfhowl impresses nonetheless through the expressivity of its guitar riffs, which in my opinion are the highlight at least of this EP. The vocals are ok, raspy screams on the front supported by growling screams in the background, and on a track like the third, which is faster and more aggressive, they are working pretty well with the instrumental part, but the problem comes when you try to get into the lyrics and realize how simple and, oh well, childish they are, not offering anything challenging or at least thought-provoking. The drum programming is ok, didn't bother me at all, although I'm a fervent opposer of this practice. The fourth track is sung in native tongue which sounded cool, hope Faethon makes up his mind on singing only in Greek on next releases. If you like your Black Metal simple, traditional and as direct as possible, with hints of Pagan / Heathen influences, this EP and band are well worth your while, the potential is definitely there, especially judging by the guitar riffs.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/Wolfhowl-112967265457743
war-productions.org

Email: contact@pestwebzine.com